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Chaos reigned nationwide Wednesday after the central data system in the Transportation Ministry’s licensing division crashed late Tuesday night.

Vendors and ministry licensing offices around the country were unable to process eye exam forms and upload photos to the Israeli drivers’ license database at the Ministry of Transportation from the start of the business day on Wednesday until at least mid-afternoon, according to staff at Markovitch Opticians in the BIG shopping center in Be’er Sheva.


Moreover, calls to the ministry seeking answers to what was wrong, trying to get technical support, and perhaps an estimate on when the system would be back online, went unanswered.

“It’s very disorganized over there,” said one frustrated member of the staff at the store. “We called but we didn’t get any information. No one could tell us when the system would come back online.”

Service vendors like Markovitch, which has a chain of stores in southern Israel, faced a day-long line of customers with forms piling up at the counter, anxious to know when the computer could accept their information.

Be’er Sheva is the central hub for southern Israel for most of the country’s ministries, including that of Transportation: residents from periphery communities around the northern Negev — many located up to an hour’s drive away — are forced to travel to the city to process any major paperwork.

Wednesday’s system breakdown meant hundreds of Israelis wasted nearly half a workday on travel, only to be told the much-vaunted hi-tech system at the ministry had unexpectedly broken down, with vendors like Markovitch unable to tell their customers when it would be fixed.

Calls placed by found Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz unavailable for comment, and without a personal spokesperson to respond to queries about the situation. The current spokesperson for the Transportation Ministry was also unavailable.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.